Former Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade tweeted Thursday that "we need more facts, but if Trump threatened to withhold military aid unless Ukraine digs up dirt on Biden, that could be extortion."
McQuade, now a University of Michigan law professor, was responding to media reports that a whistleblower raised concerns that President Donald Trump may have said inappropriate things to a Ukrainian leader involving Biden.
Trump has denied wrongdoing.
Another Fake News story out there - It never ends! Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
Rudy Giuliani acknowledged on Thursday that he had asked top Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, an admission that comes as Capitol Hill Democrats investigate whether President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer are pressuring Ukraine’s government to dig up dirt on a 2020 election rival.
“So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Giuliani in an interview on Thursday evening.
“Of course I did,” Giuliani shot back.
Late Thursday on MSNBC's "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams," McQuade said an extortion charge against Trump could resonate with the public.
"Russian interference [with the 2016 election] was something that didn't squarely fit with any of the statutes because Congress couldn't even imagine such a thing," she said. "But with extortion, this is a very bread-and-butter kind of public corruption crime that gets charged all the time."
McQuade, a regular commentator on MSNBC, was appointed as U.S. Attorney by President Barack Obama.